This Memorial Day weekend will be all about speed as the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track roll into the Illinois State Fairgrounds for the Springfield Mile I on May 29, and the man in every rider’s sights will be Michigan native Bryan Smith.
The pilot of the No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650 heads to the “World’s Fastest Mile” having won the last two Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines races – both Miles. Smith also swept both Springfield Mile events in 2015, giving him a rare six all-time victories at the venue that’s considered by many to be the crown jewel of the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule.
On his last Mile outing this past Saturday, Smith finished just 0.024 of a second in front of Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., to claim his sixth consecutive Sacramento Mile victory after a grueling on-track battle with the former Grand National Champion.
Coolbeth, mounted on the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750, has also had success in Springfield, with a win to his credit from the 2014 season. He’ll enter this weekend’s race sixth in the standings, 35 points behind Smith and perhaps his biggest threat of all.
The Springfield Mile is the third of four consecutive Mile races on the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule, and for a Mile-expert like Smith, it presents the perfect opportunity for him to pad his points lead.
Smith, last year’s runner up in the point standings, heads to Springfield leading the 2016 championship chase by two markers over Sammy Halbert and his No. 69 BriggsAuto.com Harley-Davidson XR750. Jake Johnson, mounted on the No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750, comes to Springfield third in points, nine behind Smith, and four in front of two-time defending Grand National Champion, Jared Mees.
After splitting wins at the DAYTONA Flat Track to open the season, Halbert and Johnson are both yet to finish worse than eighth this year.
Mees, however, is coming off a disappointing showing at the Sacramento Mile on Saturday due to mechanical issues with his No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XR750. The Michigan native has a lone Springfield Mile victory to his credit, which came in 2011.
No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson rider Brad Baker will also look to bounce back from a Sacramento Mile that ended prematurely due to mechanical woes. The 2013 Grand National Champion finished on the podium at Springfield in last year’s spring edition and comes into the event seventh in the points.
Brandon Robinson, riding the No. 44 Kennedy Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650, enters Round 6 of the AMA Pro Flat Track season fifth in the standings and is looking to bounce back from a 16th place result in Sacramento. The Pennsylvania rider swept both Springfield Mile events in 2013, so he’ll be looking to recapture that magic when he rolls into Illinois this weekend.
Stevie Bonsey and Cory Texter will also look to be in the mix on Sunday. The riders of the No. 80 Harley-Davidson XR750 and No. 65 Kawasaki Ninja 650, respectively, both own podium finishes on Miles this season. Texter was third in Round 4 at the Arizona Mile and Bonsey came home in third at Sacramento. Bonsey is eighth in points, tied with Henry Wiles, and Texter enters Springfield 10th in points.
The Springfield Mile I will take place this Sunday, May 29, and every session will be live streamed in high definition and free of charge at FansChoice.tv. Fans that can’t make the trek to the Illinois State Fairgrounds this weekend are invited to tune in at http://www.fanschoice.tv/
Sunday’s on-track festivities are scheduled to begin with practice and qualifying at 10:15 a.m. CT(11:15 a.m. ET), followed by an Open Paddock and Rider Autograph Session set for 12 p.m. CT (1 p.m. ET), with a special Pre-Race Show also set to air at 12 p.m. CT (1 p.m. ET).
Opening Ceremonies will kick off the afternoon’s racing activities at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET), and the field will qualify through a series of Heat and Semi races, whittling down the field to the best of the best for the afternoon’s GNC2 and Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Main Events.
To purchase tickets to the Springfield Mile, please visit springfieldmile.org.
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track events. The site also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at FansChoice.tv.